Musical claims to fame

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barney
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Musical claims to fame

Post by barney » Tue May 08, 2018 3:44 am

I feel that after years of modestly and humbly contributing gems of ineffable value to this forum, it is time to shed my cloak of humility, rise up and state my claims to musical greatness.
There are two:
My great great grandmother, being pushed in her pram in a park in Vienna, was patted on the head by Brahms and called a bonny baby (however that goes in German).
Second, a number of years ago, my aunt was attending a concert in Paris and had to clamber over the already seated audience to get to her place. In doing so she tripped over the legs of none other than Artur Rubinstein!
(The idea for this thread comes from Lance's comment that he would go to great lengths to hear Rubinstein. My aunt stretched herself to her full length, which is about 5 foot 2. )
Does anyone have a pedigree that matches or even excels my own?

barney
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Re: Musical claims to fame

Post by barney » Tue May 08, 2018 3:50 am

PS: my aunt being young and attractive, Rubinstein was all generous solicitude, raising her up and patting her down. Quelle surprise!

John F
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Re: Musical claims to fame

Post by John F » Tue May 08, 2018 5:13 am

Nothing I can tell to match the Brahms connection, but once I was at a concert of Mozart violin concertos played and conducted by Wolfgang Schneiderhan - in the Brahmssaal of the Musikverein - and found myself seated between my father and Mrs. Schneiderhan, aka Irmgard Seefried. She was one of my favorite singers since I saw her as Susanna in 1956, so all through the first half of the concert I considered what to say, if anything. She was soon to make a role debut in Stuttgart, Marie in "Wozzeck," so I summoned up my courage to thank her for past pleasures and wish her luck with Marie.

Of course I've sometimes gone to the green room, dressing room, or whatever to congratulate the artist, most memorably in Nürnberg to thank Clifford Curzon for a wonderful performance of Mozart's 27th concerto, but Barney's talking about accidental "meetings" rather than deliberate ones.
John Francis

Belle
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Re: Musical claims to fame

Post by Belle » Tue May 08, 2018 5:52 am

Can't beat the story of the baby in the Prater, Vienna!! But mine is an oldie I've told before. Stephen Bishop (before the Kovacevich add-on and switch) was out on tour in Sydney with the ABC in 1972. He was practicing in the basement of our building in King's Cross. Werner Baer (a corpulent Viennese man) worked as the music librarian in the basement and he had a keen eye for my friend, Janice; a voluptuous, beautiful and exceedingly solicitous young woman. She also was a rather good pianist. She heard Stephen Bishop would be practicing during our lunch hour so she 'conned' Werner into letting us both go to the practice session. Werner was only partially convinced, so we spent our lunch in the airlock listening to Bishop going through his paces. He was (and still is) such a handsome man. To my utter chagrin my friend joined Bishop for coffee all by herself after we had finished work, and I didn't find out about it until I arrived at work the next day!!! The wicked woman kept telling me all day about his dreamy eyes.

maestrob
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Re: Musical claims to fame

Post by maestrob » Tue May 08, 2018 11:29 am

What a fun topic!

I have posted the stories below before, but for newcomers I'll do this again. :D

During my career in retail menswear, as I was studying to become a working musician, my wife and I often attended the MET during the 1980's, sometimes with free seats and sometimes with our subscription. Nello Santi and Mario Sereni were clients of mine, as was Nikolai Ghiaurov (I never met the Mrs., Mirella Freni). One night at a performance of La boheme, the stove where the play is burned in Act I caught fire, and the stage filled with smoke. Sereni, who that night was singing Marcello, took off his jacket and stuffed it into the stove to try and suffocate the fire! Maestro Santi had to stop the performance, while a stage hand wielding a fire extinguisher put out the flames! Naturally the audience erupted in cheers and applause, and the performance resumed where it left off as the air conditioning dissipated the smoke.

The next day, Sereni brought in Nello Santi, and we commiserated about the previous night's events. "Wasna me!" protested Sereni when the fire was mentioned. A good laugh was had by all.

I could tell you a story about Peter O'Toole, but that's not the topic here.

Robert Merrill was also a client for a time (This is after he had retired from the MET.) He was keen on singing at a dinner at the NYAC, and had been a client with his pal Richard Tucker back before I was appointed Manager of the store, but considering my interest in opera Merrill became my client. Merrill's son was in a garage rock band at the time, and I have somewhere a 45 RPM single of his playing, signed and dated.

One day Merrill bought some red golf pants, and then promptly washed them with his white underwear, which process turned the latter quite pink! I, of course gave him new pants with the admonishment that he should bleach the underwear and dry clean the new pair! A good laugh was had by all! :lol:

There are many more stories, but the one that stands out for me right now is about the old-time tenor, Kurt Baum, who lived right across the street from the Club (NYAC) on Central Park South. When I knew him he was in his eighties, and, sadly, losing his mind slowly. He had quit singing in 1965 to care for his ailing wife, and never had the chance to sing in Lincoln Center's MET, which opened in 1966 (I saw Faust and Carmen that year on a class trip from Philadelphia's suburbs where I grew up). Baum was a regular at Arthur's Court, stopping by often just to chat about his glory days and listen to our opera tapes. Sadly, he was poor as a church mouse, just scraping by on their social security payments. The MET didn't institute a pension for singers until it moved to Lincoln Center, and Baum just missed out.

One day, he came in with a proposition, that I would accompany him to the MET 100th Anniversary Gala, in exchange for a new tuxedo outfit appropriate to the occasion. I immediately agreed, and fitted him up in a fine example of our best. When the date came, Baum picked me up at the store and we proceeded by taxi to the MET, where we sat in Box #1 alongside Rose Bampton, Laurenzo Alvary and their escorts (I still have the autographed program booklet with ticket stubs). We were there for the afternoon program (which is still available on DVD) which, I think, was the better of the two performances. Needless to say, it was THE event of a lifetime, and I'll always be grateful to Baum for thinking of me.

That's it for now. More later.......

Rach3
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Re: Musical claims to fame

Post by Rach3 » Tue May 08, 2018 12:00 pm

Recall a Des Moines recital by Van Cliburn ( 1960-1962), where he started a bit late,resulting in some audience clapping, came out a bit perturbed, launched into the "Star Spangled Banner" , which caught the audience by surprise. In the first half I recall he played Schumann's " Fantasiestucke " . His last piece of the recital was the Barber Sonata, I had never heard before ( was 12-14 at the time). In the Green Room , while he signed my programme, I complimented him on the Barber Fuga, he misunderstood, and said, "And you play the Barber ?", at which point Rilda Bee, at his elbow, of course, interrupted to correct him, and he looked at me a little hurt as if I had tried to fool him.

My piano teacher ( I was , am , a terrible player ) was a student of a student of Leschetizky.

jbuck919
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Re: Musical claims to fame

Post by jbuck919 » Tue May 08, 2018 5:28 pm

When I was in high school in the 60s, Rubinstein performed at Newburgh Free Academy, the public high school in the small Hudson River city by that name which was just down the highway from where I lived. Tickets were $5.00. My father would have taken me if I had really wanted it, because even then I did know about one of the two or three most internationally famous pianists (don't ask me what he was doing in a place like Newburgh), but I felt guilty asking him to spend all that money. I think I stayed home and watched TV instead.

There's nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself.
-- Johann Sebastian Bach

Lance
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Re: Musical claims to fame

Post by Lance » Tue May 08, 2018 10:08 pm

Well, you missed, undoubtedly, a great concert by a master! It may have encouraged you to even give up the organ and replace it with the piano! I just absolutely adore Rubinstein. I had the pleasure of talking with him and having a wonderful photograph taken with him when he played in Syracuse, New York. A real gentleman, too. But these days, you can have his entire output as recorded for HMV, RCA, and one from British Decca, all in one box. Add to that many live concerts and concertos on independent labels.
jbuck919 wrote:
Tue May 08, 2018 5:28 pm
When I was in high school in the 60s, Rubinstein performed at Newburgh Free Academy, the public high school in the small Hudson River city by that name which was just down the highway from where I lived. Tickets were $5.00. My father would have taken me if I had really wanted it, because even then I did know about one of the two or three most internationally famous pianists (don't ask me what he was doing in a place like Newburgh), but I felt guilty asking him to spend all that money. I think I stayed home and watched TV instead.
Lance G. Hill
Editor-in-Chief
______________________________________________________

When she started to play, Mr. Steinway came down and personally
rubbed his name off the piano. [Speaking about pianist &*$#@+#]

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Rach3
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Re: Musical claims to fame

Post by Rach3 » Wed May 09, 2018 8:31 am

Lance wrote:
Tue May 08, 2018 10:08 pm
But these days, you can have his entire output as recorded for HMV, RCA, and one from British Decca, all in one box. Add to that many live concerts and concertos on independent labels.
I would also recommend, despite the quality, the YouTubes of his 1964 Moscow recital. He was a "better" pianist live. Saw him live 4 times between 1960 - 1974, all solo recitals.

Ricordanza
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Re: Musical claims to fame

Post by Ricordanza » Wed May 09, 2018 3:29 pm

I'll contribute a story from my father. When he studied violin at the Royal Academy of Music in the late 1910's, the school orchestra was conducted by Sir Alexander Mackenzie (fairly prominent in his own right). One day, Sir Alexander told the students that they would have a guest conductor that day--none other than Sir Edward Elgar!

barney
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Re: Musical claims to fame

Post by barney » Wed May 09, 2018 8:14 pm

Many thanks for all the delightful replies. This has turned into a fine thread: I mentioned, of course, what wonderful gems I produce! (If there's an emoji for blushing, imagine it here.)
JohnF, I too am a fan of Irmgaard Seefried. Did you know that Australian Eloquence (a local budget label by Universal) put out nine or so CDs, one by one, of her recordings. Magnificent. I'm really glad you got the chance to say something to her. As someone who still sometimes gets strangers talking to me about my articles, I really appreciate it. Of course I remember far more the ones who disagree - that's human nature. My point is that I'm sure she really appreciated it.
Belle, what a tragedy! How sharper than a serpent's tooth is a duplicitous friend, if I may misquote the Bard. Was there a pane in the airlock for you to peer through? You mention that he was handsome...
Brian, loved the stories but especially the Kurt Baum one. A real bit of human life in the way its sadness and joy combine. I'm so glad you were generous, and reaped a reward for your generosity. As for boheme, I'm surprised that doesn't happen more often.
Red trousers? Only in the military or America, I fancy! In the UK and Australia, as you probably know, red is the colour of the left-wing parties, unlike the US where the Republicans have appropriated it. Perhaps we could rewrite the Internationale: "The workers' trousers are deepest red; they're shrouded oe'r the workers' dead" ( the only two lines I remember).

barney
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Re: Musical claims to fame

Post by barney » Wed May 09, 2018 8:24 pm

Continuing my responses:
Rach 3, another delightful tale. I particularly enjoyed the thought of you trying to hoodwink Van Cliburn (in his eyes).
Ah, John B, what an opportunity lost. I'd give a digit off my left hand to have heard Rubinstein. Like Lance, for me he is a pianistic demigod. I bought the 140-CD set Lance refers to from Amazon (Germany, I think) for $99, one of my best investments in life.
Ricordanza, that would have been something! Did your father ever say what he thought of Elgar's conducting?

barney
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Re: Musical claims to fame

Post by barney » Wed May 09, 2018 8:29 pm

I have one more anecdote I'd forgotten about. My father, who was a conductor, was studying at the Royal Academy of London when Stravinsky came on an English tour in the 1950s. My father, in his early 20s at the time, became his "roadie", driving him around and carrying his bags etc. I'm not sure how this came about.
Later Stravinsky came to New Zealand with Robert Craft, and at some point my father (who had returned home) was driving them both in my grandmother's car. Stravinsky began complaining to Craft about a fee, speaking in French on the assumption that my father wouldn't understand. In fact he was fluent, and enjoyed eavesdropping. He couldn't speak up, of course.

Ricordanza
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Re: Musical claims to fame

Post by Ricordanza » Thu May 10, 2018 6:16 am

barney wrote:
Wed May 09, 2018 8:24 pm

Ricordanza, that would have been something! Did your father ever say what he thought of Elgar's conducting?
No. I should have asked him to tell me more about that incident. Too late now.

IcedNote
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Re: Musical claims to fame

Post by IcedNote » Thu May 10, 2018 10:43 am

Does page-turning for recitals by the likes of Yo Yo Ma, Perlman, Hahn, etc. count? :mrgreen: Hilary actually thanked me by name to the audience during the second half. :D And I forgot to bring out Perlman's music for the second half of his concert. I quickly went backstage to get it, came back out, handed it to him, and without missing a beat, he turned to the audience and said, "They're just props anyway." Got a big laugh.

-G
Harakiried composer reincarnated as a nonprofit development guy.

Belle
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Re: Musical claims to fame

Post by Belle » Thu May 10, 2018 5:33 pm

barney wrote:
Wed May 09, 2018 8:14 pm
Many thanks for all the delightful replies. This has turned into a fine thread: I mentioned, of course, what wonderful gems I produce! (If there's an emoji for blushing, imagine it here.)
JohnF, I too am a fan of Irmgaard Seefried. Did you know that Australian Eloquence (a local budget label by Universal) put out nine or so CDs, one by one, of her recordings. Magnificent. I'm really glad you got the chance to say something to her. As someone who still sometimes gets strangers talking to me about my articles, I really appreciate it. Of course I remember far more the ones who disagree - that's human nature. My point is that I'm sure she really appreciated it.
Belle, what a tragedy! How sharper than a serpent's tooth is a duplicitous friend, if I may misquote the Bard. Was there a pane in the airlock for you to peer through? You mention that he was handsome...
Brian, loved the stories but especially the Kurt Baum one. A real bit of human life in the way its sadness and joy combine. I'm so glad you were generous, and reaped a reward for your generosity. As for boheme, I'm surprised that doesn't happen more often.
Red trousers? Only in the military or America, I fancy! In the UK and Australia, as you probably know, red is the colour of the left-wing parties, unlike the US where the Republicans have appropriated it. Perhaps we could rewrite the Internationale: "The workers' trousers are deepest red; they're shrouded oe'r the workers' dead" ( the only two lines I remember).
Yes, there was glass in the doors on both sides of the airlock. And it was the listening which we were after (little did I know my friend had other ideas - she with the big 'glockenspiels'!).

jbuck919
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Re: Musical claims to fame

Post by jbuck919 » Thu May 10, 2018 5:43 pm

IcedNote wrote:
Thu May 10, 2018 10:43 am
Does page-turning for recitals by the likes of Yo Yo Ma, Perlman, Hahn, etc. count? :mrgreen: Hilary actually thanked me by name to the audience during the second half. :D And I forgot to bring out Perlman's music for the second half of his concert. I quickly went backstage to get it, came back out, handed it to him, and without missing a beat, he turned to the audience and said, "They're just props anyway." Got a big laugh.

-G
I assume you mean turning pages for the pianist. It is rather difficult for me to imagine a string soloist of such caliber requiring a page turner. In any case, it is remarkable that you were ever acknowledged. To my mind, the page turner's role is to be furniture.

Do update us in the Pub on how things are going for you in NYC. I've been thinking about a meet-up with the gang. We're long overdue.

There's nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself.
-- Johann Sebastian Bach

barney
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Re: Musical claims to fame

Post by barney » Thu May 10, 2018 9:45 pm

IcedNote wrote:
Thu May 10, 2018 10:43 am
Does page-turning for recitals by the likes of Yo Yo Ma, Perlman, Hahn, etc. count? :mrgreen: Hilary actually thanked me by name to the audience during the second half. :D And I forgot to bring out Perlman's music for the second half of his concert. I quickly went backstage to get it, came back out, handed it to him, and without missing a beat, he turned to the audience and said, "They're just props anyway." Got a big laugh.

-G
Certainly it counts. Very impressive. But I have to echo John B's question: did you actually turn for Perlman? I've never seen a string soloist with a page turner. It still counts if it's the accompanist, of course.

barney
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Re: Musical claims to fame

Post by barney » Thu May 10, 2018 9:46 pm

Belle wrote:
Thu May 10, 2018 5:33 pm
barney wrote:
Wed May 09, 2018 8:14 pm
Many thanks for all the delightful replies. This has turned into a fine thread: I mentioned, of course, what wonderful gems I produce! (If there's an emoji for blushing, imagine it here.)
JohnF, I too am a fan of Irmgaard Seefried. Did you know that Australian Eloquence (a local budget label by Universal) put out nine or so CDs, one by one, of her recordings. Magnificent. I'm really glad you got the chance to say something to her. As someone who still sometimes gets strangers talking to me about my articles, I really appreciate it. Of course I remember far more the ones who disagree - that's human nature. My point is that I'm sure she really appreciated it.
Belle, what a tragedy! How sharper than a serpent's tooth is a duplicitous friend, if I may misquote the Bard. Was there a pane in the airlock for you to peer through? You mention that he was handsome...
Brian, loved the stories but especially the Kurt Baum one. A real bit of human life in the way its sadness and joy combine. I'm so glad you were generous, and reaped a reward for your generosity. As for boheme, I'm surprised that doesn't happen more often.
Red trousers? Only in the military or America, I fancy! In the UK and Australia, as you probably know, red is the colour of the left-wing parties, unlike the US where the Republicans have appropriated it. Perhaps we could rewrite the Internationale: "The workers' trousers are deepest red; they're shrouded oe'r the workers' dead" ( the only two lines I remember).
Yes, there was glass in the doors on both sides of the airlock. And it was the listening which we were after (little did I know my friend had other ideas - she with the big 'glockenspiels'!).
I don't suppose male pianists are any more immune to big glockenspiels than other men. That is, some are more vulnerable to them than others! :D

Belle
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Re: Musical claims to fame

Post by Belle » Fri May 11, 2018 12:29 am

I think most have certainly learned to play them!!

IcedNote
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Re: Musical claims to fame

Post by IcedNote » Fri May 11, 2018 9:53 am

Haha, yes yes...definitely for the pianist. Best seat in the house. 👍 And yeah, Hilary surprised the hell out of me. She looked right at me and smiled, slightly mischievous. It was a great moment. 😍

-G
Harakiried composer reincarnated as a nonprofit development guy.

barney
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Re: Musical claims to fame

Post by barney » Sat May 12, 2018 12:55 am

Belle wrote:
Fri May 11, 2018 12:29 am
I think most have certainly learned to play them!!
:lol:

Belle
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Re: Musical claims to fame

Post by Belle » Sun May 13, 2018 3:04 am

I'm going to tell 3 funny anecdotes about music from my years in ABC television just after the Sydney Opera House was opened. Firstly, we were making a documentary about an opera production which was directed by John Bell (an actor and drama director). John Pritchard was out from the UK to conduct - I think the production was "Don Giovanni". We went to interview Pritchard about the production but before we could do so his agent rang me and asked how much money we were going to pay him. As no such idea entered our heads - it was a documentary and he was just a part of that - she yelled at me over the phone. I tried to restore some credibility and crave indulgence by saying "the director I work for is Italian and he may have misunderstood; he's deaf and only has 17% hearing in one ear". She yelled back at me, "well, why the hell doesn't he use the other f***ing one"? I collapsed into laughter which I had to hide from her. Anyway, I was able to smooth things over and Pritchard didn't have to receive a fee.

The second story involves a still-living Covent Garden director (whose name I won't mention here) who was out to direct "Jenufa" for Opera Australia. During the long dress rehearsal my director turned his hearing aid off and feel asleep up the back!! This director caught wind of it and, once again, I had to revert to apology mode. He started screaming and ranting "that idiot has gone to sleep in my dress rehearsal; there are 3 words I never want to hear again (and he proceeded to yell out the director's three-word name)!!" Always embarrassing working with this volatile Italian, but never dull.

The third story involves a meeting with the General Manager of Opera Australia (I won't mention his name). We were negotiating another 'behind the scenes' documentary. The meeting was scheduled for 10am and my boss was nowhere to be seen. He was meant to pick me up at 9.30am. I get a call in the office at 10am; this man had broken English, which wasn't good and only I could understand his bizarre form of linguistic semaphore. "Susan; quickly, you must ring right now the Australian Opera and tell the GM that Dr. **** (he always gave himself airs and titles when in a crisis) cannot come at 10am because he was 'driving along the Sydney Harbour Bridge when some bloody (not that word, a worse one) idiot shortened my car by one yard' (in short, an accident)". I phoned the GM and all was smoothed over for an appointment the following Thursday (2 days later) and my boss had the temerity not just to turn up in the car he falsely claimed had been smashed up but offered the OA executive a lift in it to the Opera House"!!!!

Funny times; a wonderful Italian who was hopelessly disorganized but who loves (still alive) Australia and produced a beautiful award-winning dramatization of "The Drover's Wife" which starred Clarissa Kay (wife of James Mason). This had occurred about 2 years or so before we worked together. They put me with this fellow because he was unable to keep asisstants because of his volatility and unpredictability. There was a wonderful sense of pleasurable chaos about it all. A firm hand worked like a charm!!

I've got lots of other funny stories, and these mostly involve his mangling of the English language. But those three examples were my 'brushes' with fame, which always left me bruised!!

barney
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Re: Musical claims to fame

Post by barney » Sun May 13, 2018 6:20 pm

That's delicious Belle. I especially loved the third one. Did the OA figure know it was the car supposed shortened by a $%*@ yard?

Belle
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Re: Musical claims to fame

Post by Belle » Sun May 13, 2018 6:53 pm

Probably not, but I knew and this made it all the more annoying. You'd recognize the GMs name so I've kept it out of here; as with the other anecdotes these are/were well-known musical identities. My director is still alive and well, to my knowledge, and living in Sydney. My husband saw him a few years ago on a North Shore line train and he was blowing kisses to my husband!! I wrote to him a couple of decades after leaving Sydney and he wrote a warm reply.

He had the funniest way with English and all his words were scrambled. When I became pregnant with my first child I bumped into him at the studio one day...he showed surprise and said, "Ah, Susan; I expect to see you in every possible way but never in this one"!!!!!

He made a lot of enemies because of his attitude and unreliability but, as is often the case with me, I like people who are different and he was one of these. We had a big argument one day on a 'shoot' (doing a biography of a well-known writer). Both of us unwittingly turned up at separate locations; me with the crew, him with 'the talent'. He started yelling (we were outside a school) and all the windows went up and heads came out of them. I got the huff and got public transport back to the office. Next day a big bunch of flowers on my desk from him!! "The talent" thought he was mad (but I knew differently). He was under severe sanction that if he lost another 'assistant' he'd be out on his ear so, naturally, I played up that threat to the hilt!!!

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